The state will join Illinois and Connecticut in making gay ‘cure’ therapy subject to consumer protection laws.
The California Assembly has voted by 50-18 votes to introduce fraud convictions for people who carry out gay ‘cure’ therapy. Attempting the discredited practice on minors is already illegal in the state.
Democrat Evan Low submitted AB-2943 which will add “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual,” to the existing civil code.
The new law also states: “Sexual orientation change efforts means any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.
“Sexual orientation change efforts does not include psychotherapies that: (A) provide acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or the facilitation of clients’ coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices; and (B) do not seek to change sexual orientation.”
Low, who is also the chair of the LGBT Legislative Caucus said: “Study after study has shown that ‘conversion therapy’ is ineffective, damaging, and counterproductive.
“It is our duty to protect Californians from such deceptive practices that will expose them to physical and emotional harm.”
Marty Rouse, the Human Rights Campaign’s National Field Director said: “Today, California legislators rightfully declared that so-called ‘conversion therapy’ is a complete sham and those who offer this deceptive and dangerous practice must be held accountable.
“California was the first state to protect minors from being subjected to conversion therapy by state-licensed health care providers, and today’s vote is an important step to protecting all LGBTQ people from this debunked practice.
“We thank the assembly members who voted in favor of AB 2943 and urge the Senate to swiftly advance the bill to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.”
Although gay ‘cure’ therapy is legal in most U.S. states, there is a growing pressure to ban it. So far, New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada and Washington have banned the discredited practice for minors. Maryland is expected to become the eleventh state to ban the practice, but Hawaii have also submitted a bill calling for its ban on minors.